It’s the laptop that I just can’t bring myself to hate. It’s the last of my 32 bit machines, or at least the last of them that I still use. I assume my old iMac G4 is a 32 bit machine as well but it sits under a layer of dust in my basement. Anyone want a 17″ desklamp-looking G4 iMac? Hm…
Anyway, my old MacBook is still a powerhouse of a machine. I bought it in 2006 and it’s run reliably ever since. When Apple declared it orphaned I explored FreeBSD (documented elsewhere on this blog) as well as a number of different flavors of Linux. I even went back to Mac OS for a while just because I figured I couldn’t go wrong with the native OS, but that didn’t last. In the end, I installed Linux. The laptop is currently running Ubuntu MATE, the only flavor of Ubuntu that doesn’t make me wish I didn’t install Ubuntu. I love it, actually. It’s one of the most solid Linux distros that I’ve used in years, even compared to other flavors of Ubuntu. Until further notice, I’m sticking with it.
However, as lovely as this distro may be and as wonderfully as this laptop has performed over the past few years of college, I’m starting to see signs that even with Linux this thing is about to become dog food.
This came about after I decided to dive into Android Studio. There are many things you never get to learn in college even when pursuing a CS degree. Those things need to be learned in your off hours, after the 60-80 hours of school work are finished for the week. Not easy, but necessary. I can’t actually say learning Android Studio is essential, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do so I figured now, while on break, it’s as good a time as any. So, I tried it.
Long story short, AS doesn’t run as cleanly on 32 bit systems as I’d like it to run. The warnings about 32 bit support being deprecated don’t help, nor do the warnings that near-future versions of AS may drop 32 bit support entirely. So, as if it’s not bad enough that Apple is pushing 64 bit development even for software that absolutely does not require 64 bit support, now there are Linux applications that are doing it. I guess I can’t blame them, but as long as I’ve used Linux I’ve been impressed with its ability to run on old hardware and this kinda knocks that impression down a notch. Breathing life into obsolete hardware is a huge selling point, and if I was more environmentally-inclined (on a scale of 0-10, I’m about a 7) I’d say it’s essential for keeping ‘puters out of the local dump.
Oh well. Nothing lasts forever. I would feel better about this if the MacBook was running like crap, but I’m still waiting for it to rattle and it’s not rattling. It’s almost like it’s a high-quality computer or something. Can’t say for sure. Putting this out to pasture would be a shame.
Maybe it’ll become a PLEX server. Who knows. What a sad end to such a regal piece of technology. Or maybe this will become my sole travel computer. It kinda is now, but not officially. I can’t stomach decommissioning it. Something will work out.